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Thanksgiving vacation for support

Turkey day is coming!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008 by MeliBee | Discussion: Stardock Support General

Stardock's offices will be closed this Thursday and Friday, November 27th and 28th in observance of Thanksgiving.

When we return on Monday, December 1st (wow, December, gotta wrap my brain around that), we'll dive right into our eSupport system and answer your emails in the order in which they were received.  If you email us once over the break and then reply to your own ticket, its time will be reset, putting it at the bottom of the queue.  So please, email us one time only and wait for our response.  We will do our best to get everything caught up by the end of business on Tuesday.

We will do our best to return any voicemail we receive over the break as soon as possible after we return.

Everyone at Stardock Customer Support wishes you and yours a healthy and happy Thanksgiving!

Support weekend email

Monday, October 20, 2008 by DorkCoffeez | Discussion: Stardock Support General

This last weekend our support email server burped on a few emails then choked. We have cleared the issue but weekend emails might take a small amount of extra time to clear out due to lost time. We will answer things as quickly as possible and get right back on track. In the mean time please do not send in replies asking about your tickets as they will have their time reset and will be forced back to the beginning of the line automatically. For the fastest responses please simply wait for a tech to contact you.

Thank you for your patience!

Panic Button

Friday, August 22, 2008 by DorkCoffeez | Discussion: Stardock Support General

Panic Button

The Monthly Stardock Support News Letter

In our continued efforts to improve support for all our customers we have created Panic Button, the support newsletter. This newsletter is designed to update everyone on the top most (top = reoccurring/popular) troubles that people are experiencing, and the solutions or work arounds that we can provide at this time. Please keep in mind that this is a generalized list and that all the info is subject to change due to updates after the date of posting. As always if you have any questions you can always contact us at If these solutions do not work for you please do the same.



Impulse Phase 2 is due out soon. Many updates to the software are underway. If you didn’t see CEO Brad Wardell’s post on the topic here are the main updates to current issues:

-Fixes issues with Anti-Virus programs causing download failures
-Fixes issues with updates not restarting
-Makes new download mechanism the primary
-Fixes Auto Archiving and Archiving

New Tools and features will include:

-Load time. A new Fast Load option is on by default and allows Impulse to be loaded in about 1 second or less depending how fast the machine is.


-Downloads. Downloads are much faster thanks to new clustered server back-end along with Stardock's new digital download framework that comes with Impulse replacing bits by default.

-Logons/Connections/Redownloads. A major back-end update is nearly complete to handle the higher than anticipated user base of Impulse at this stage. This should radically improve the responsiveness of it.

-Processing/Building List. A major improvement in determining which files need to be updated. The existing system literally checks every file against what's on the server. This is fine on say WindowBlinds but on a program like GalCiv or Sins of a Solar Empire, it's a very long process.  The new system should reduce this time to almost nothing.


The full article can be read here:

The following are a few good things to try whenever you have any issues with Impulse.

-Clear your data.

This has been suggested many times but is presented as “Clear your XML data”. There is now a tool in place to do it for you. This is suggested when registrations are giving you errors or account data seems to be having trouble. It is always just a good idea to try when having almost any issue.

-Click the Stardock Orb

-Select Preferences

-Select the Folders tab on the left

-Click Reset Data


-Connection issues.

There is a new download mechanism for Impulse. If you are having connection troubles you can always choose to use this one instead.

-Click the blue Stardock logo in the upper left of the Impulse interface and select 'Preferences...'

-Click on the 'Connection' section on the left.

-Uncheck the box that says 'Use new download mechanism'

-Close Impulse and relaunch it.


-Changing your directories.

This is more of a FAQ than an issue but we are asked it so often I thought it best to post it again.

-Click on the Stardock Orb in the upper left corner of Impulse, choose 'Preferences'

-Click on the 'Folders' section on the left

Here you can select from the drop down menu where you would like apps from each category to install to.  You can also check the 'Prompt for install directory' to be prompted during install for where you would like the apps to be installed.  You can also from this dialog choose where Impulse's archives and temp directories are stored.

It is important to note that some software that is installed by Impulse has its own installer as well. Applications like Corel Draw for example will have to be told where to install after the download is complete even with these settings in place.


-How to archive an application.(note: archiving is disabled temporarily as of this posting but will return shortly)

-Launch Impulse, you must have the game already installed for the Archive to be available.

-Once Impulse is loaded, right click on the software in the tab it is listed under (MyDesktop, MyGames etc..) and from the menu choose

'Archive Application'

-Once you've archived the game and all components you want, copy the archives (located by default in C:\ProgramData\Stardock\Impulse\backup for Vista or C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Stardock\Impulse\backup in XP) and the Impulse installer ( a portable media.


To restore at a later time

-Copy the saved impulse_setup.exe file onto the computer.

-Run the Impulse installer

-Copy the archived files into C:\ProgramData\Stardock\Impulse\backup for Vista or C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Stardock\Impulse\backup in XP

-Click the Blue Stardock logo in the upper left and click 'Restore archive" and select the archive(s) you wish to restore.




Here is a run down of everything you can try if you are having troubles with Deskscapes.

If you previously had the trial version of DeskScapes installed you will want to remove it first.  Installing the full version over the trial will not overwrite all the files from the trial version.  You must uninstall the trial (or any full versions installed over the trial) and reboot the machine before installing the full version.

You will want to first go to Start->Start Search and type services.msc. Once there, be sure the Desktop Window Manager Session Manager service is running and the startup type is set to automatic.

If that does not help or it is already running, please make sure that you have the Windows Vista theme enabled.  To do so:

-Right click on your desktop, choose personalize.

-Click on Themes

-From the drop down menu, choose 'Windows Vista", then click apply and ok. (If you have WB themes applied, you can reapply them later)


If that still does not allow you to display .dreams, please try the following:

-Click the Start orb

-Right click on Computer, select properties

-In the tasks pane on the left, select 'Advanced system settings'

-Click the 'Settings' button in the 'Performance' section

-Check 'Enable Desktop Composition' from the list

-Click 'Apply', then 'OK'

-Click the 'Settings' button to be sure that is still enabled. If it is not, please go back and make sure that the Vista theme is set by the instructions above.



If .dreams files will still not play, and you are not getting the Desktop Window Management service not running error, you may need to install a mepg2 codec.

Here is the Microsoft information page about codecs:

 We recommend if you are unsure about what codecs you have installed using the following tool to find out:

If you do not have Vista Home Premium or Ultimate installed you likely do not have a codec. There are many third party codecs available. During testing we found that the codecs bundled with Cyberlink PowerDVD Ultra, and DX for Windows Vista appeared to be compatible with video dreams.

Here is a link to the Microsoft DvD Mpeg2 decoders:

If at this point DeskScapes will still not run, please do the all of following:

 -Hold the Windows key, press R, and then type "eventvwr.msc" into the run dialog. Press enter

 -Once this loads, open 'Windows Logs', right click on Application and go to 'Save events as...'.

 -Ensure 'Save as type:' is set to Event Files *.evtx

 -Please repeat the process for the System section

 -Send the two log files

 -Follow this link in Internet Explorer (Firefox and other browsers will not handle it correctly, must use IE):

  save the file, run it, and attach the log file it generates on the desktop to the return e-mail. 

 -Launch DeskScapes from the Start Menu and click the option 'About Stardock Deskscapes'

 -Click the option, 'Copy information to clipboard', and then paste the information into the email.

 -Also please go to Start->Start Search and type 'dxdiag'. Once everything loads, please click the "Save all information" button and attach the output file in the support email.



-Windows XP 64bit

As a reminder Stardock no longer develops with XP 64bit in mind, nor does it test for it. I apologize for any inconvenience.


-Tip from support (Use of Free Stuff):

If you have played around with the freeware or trial version of our software it is best that you uninstall it before installing the full version. In programs like Object Dock Plus, for example, conflicts will keep most of the full version utilities from launching at all. Be sure to restart after uninstalling a trial to clear your computer cache.


-Icon Packager 4.10 BETA

(Note: this is a beta build, should you have troubles with the software please revert back to the last full version of the software. Betas are not officially supported as they are still in the testing phase)

-Fixed drag/drop icons into the Package Builder on Vista.
-Fixed redraw issue when dropping icons into Package Builder.
-Added option to change the Connect To icon on Vista Start Menu.
-Added option to change the Printers icon on Vista Start Menu.
-Fixed applying packages when changing the Control Panel icons in Vista


-Stardock Central

Stardock central no longer gets updates for our games section. This is due to Stardock Central using the Legacy pkzip file format. Due to the size of today’s PC games this is not a format that can be used as it’s file size limit is 2 gigs. Many games exceed that limit now which is why Impulse uses 7zip which has a limit of 16 million tera bytes (8 billion times larger than pkzip). Components of Object Desktop and other Stardock software are still being updated through Stardock Central as well as Impulse, but game users should make the switch to Impulse for the latest updates to their purchases.  


-Stardock Update: Aquarium Desktop.

Aquarium Desktop is being updated to work fully with Windows Vista. There is no solid time line on the completion of this project but this is a often asked question. Please look to Impulse and for further details.


-Support Tip: How to obtain account information:

Please use the following link to see a full list of all of your account information.

You may need to log into your account before using this link.

Your account information is always available through the registration page of Impulse as well


How to best use the support system ( to save time and troubles:

As Stardock grows the traffic for support has greatly increased. Here are some of the best tips and suggestions we can provide to utilize our support system to your advantage. It also highlights a few pitfalls you can avoid.

-Please fully explain what is broken, what steps you have already taken to fix it, and what was happening when the problem occurred. A long and very detailed list of information is not needed but if question or concern is too short or unexplained the resolution could take twice as long.

-Please be certain that you list what account email you hold with us if you are writing in from another email address about your concern (IE a work email address and so on).

-If you have an auto validation software please add ‘’ to the allowed list. Stardock support or sales will not go through a validation process. This is a matter of both security and time.

-Please be certain not to add support or sales to your face book profile. We very often get requests to personal pages due to broadcast emails.

-Make sure that any screen shot sent in be no large than about 1 meg in size. The filters that govern our email server will likely block or strip the message. Embedding pictures into the email will also result in something of the same. You will always want to attach the file.

-Support is not available on the weekends. If you have a problem you are trying to fix though please send in the email as soon as possible. All email is sorted and queued up as a first-come-first-serve system. Thus the emails that were sent in Friday evening will be serviced first. Feel free to post your question in the forums of our websites to ask for help as the community is very accommodating. Support passes through the forums on weekends from time to time so this can also be a big help.

-Do not send in multiple replies to pending tickets as this counts as an “action or update” to the ticket and resets the ticket time. In other words the ticket is forced to the back of the line before a tech can even see it. Also do not start new emails or tickets, but always reply to the message sent to you. This way whomever answers the ticket can see the history of what has been suggested already.

-Please do not write in all capitol letters as this is considered shouting in the online world. Our techs are more than happy to assist you. We understand that you may be frustrated and we will do everything we can to assist you as quickly as possible.

-Please do not curse or swear. In most cases these emails are filtered and receive an auto reply saying so. However if the mail should get through a tech will not answer the email but will ask you to state the question again. The tech is not required to take any verbal abuse.

-If you did not get an auto reply from the support system then the support department did not receive your email. Please try again.

-If you have sent in a request and it has been longer than 48 hours (through the work week) please check your spam filters for our responses. If there are none write to us again in askance about the first ticket.


I hope this helps everyone! Thank you for reading and be sure to drop us a line should you need to hit the panic button.



Stardock Support




Stardock Central Clarification

Wednesday, July 30, 2008 by DorkCoffeez | Discussion: Stardock Support General

There have been multiple responses from many different Stardock Representatives and community members about the status of Stardock Central and Impulse. At this time I would like to clarify the situation as it stands. This is of course subject to change but this is the current situation at the time of this posting. Any changes I am made aware of I will post here as well.

Impulse is the new downloading tool for Stardock software, games, published games, and store front. It will receive priority in all new downloads and updates. There are a great many plans for updates to the software including tools, features, and so on. If you have not already, we encourage you to make the switch.

Stardock Central will continue to feature updates for Stardock software only at this time. This will not include games, even Stardock original ones. However WindownBlinds, Icon packager, and so on will still have the updates made available to them as a service to our customers.

As I said any of this is subject to change but as it stands right now this the policy regarding these two free tools. I do apologize for any inconvenience in these matters.

As always if you have any troubles or questions you can let us know at


Panic Button: Impulse

Thursday, July 10, 2008 by DorkCoffeez | Discussion: Stardock Support General

Panic Button
The support news letter of Stardock

Feature Article:  Impulse

In our continued efforts to improve support for all our customers we have created Panic Button, the support newsletter. This newsletter is designed to update everyone on the top most (top = reoccurring/popular) troubles that people are experiencing, and the solutions or work arounds that we can provide at this time. Please keep in mind that this is a generalized list and that all the info is subject to change due to updates after the date of posting. As always if you have any questions you can always contact us at If these solutions do not work for you please do the same.

    This feature issue of Panic Button surrounds support and questions about Impulse. As Impulse evolves and more features are added support for the software does as well. This article should be considered the latest in troubleshooting and previous suggestions should be disregarded at this time.  

Connectivity Issues
    (Including downloading troubles, updating troubles, or even error reading current account information)

    Previously to this writing support would often suggest clearing the XML data to clear the downloading troubles described above. Now under the current file structure that is no longer suggested. To get the same result only a few files need to be deleted and rebuilt by Impulse.

From within Impulse:

-Click the blue Help icon in the upper right.
-Choose 'Open Impulse ProgramData folder'
-When the folder pops up, navigate to \InstalledXML\impulse_main.ini and delete it. Close the window.
-Repeat the first 2 steps, but this time navigate to the \Temporary directory and remove the \DownloadQueue and \ExtractedFiles folders.
-Close impulse and relaunch it. You may notice a long update time, which is normal as it is rebuilding the deleted info.
If after these steps you still have troubles please contact support directly by email.

Known Bug

    There is an intermittent bug that occurs in some installs of Impulse where you will get an error message stating that you do not have enough space to install the software. This occurs because Impulse may not have updated correctly or could be checking the default location for installs by mistake. Not everyone experiences this problem but the instructions above for clearing files from the XML data should correct this for you. This will force Impulse to check updates, update itself, and check all current settings.

If this does occur for you and the XML data refresh does not work please let us know at

'How To' for common problems

Running WindowBlinds (or any software) calls for activation then crashes.

 In Impulse you can right click on an installed application and click on Re-Activate.  This will attempt to activate the installed product.  The product should then not try to activate again when it is run.


Cannot find backup/archive directories.

Click on the Stardock Orb in the top left corner of Impulse > Preferences.  Click Folders on the left hand side.  Archive File Location lists where the backup/archive directories can be found.


Impulse Help and FAQ gives the error: Page Cannot Be Found.

Use either of these links: for Help and for FAQ.


How to change the installation path of games.

Click on the Stardock Logo in the top left corner > Preferences > Folders.  At the top select My Games from the dropdown under Install Location.  Click Change and navigate to the folder you would like them installed to.  Click ok when you are finished.  You can also have Impulse prompt for the install directory on every install by checking "Prompt for install directory" on Preferences -> Folders. Once this option is set Impulse will ask you every time what directory you want to install to.

Side note to problems:
If you have repeat troubles with Impulse or you wish to install to an offline computer it is advised to get the full version instead of the web version of Impulse. Simply uninstall the software, restart your machine and download the current version from here:


-For people interested in the BITS system used by Impulse a new download code is in testing to get around BITS downloading if needed. Once the update is in place BITS will still be the default downloader. A option will be available under the Stardock Logo > Preferences > Connection and mechanism to change the option should you be having any trouble with BITS. Until this update is in place please be certain that BITS is running on your computer should you be having downloading troubles.

EDIT: This feature has now been implemented in the latest update.

To enable BITS:
-Click on Start and Select Run (or in Vista, Use the Start Search field)
-Type 'services.msc' and hit enter (No Quotes)
-In the window that appears, locate the Background Intelligent Transfer Service
-Right click on the entry and choose 'Start'
-Right click again and choose 'Properties'
-From the Startup type drop down, select 'Automatic'
-Click 'Apply'
-Click 'OK'
-Reboot your machine and try Impulse again.

Multiple Icons
-Some people have reported seeing two versions of SkinStudio in their Impulse My Desktop page. This is normal if you have purchased multiple versions of SkinStudio over the years. For instance if you have Skin Studio 5 Professional and Skin Studio 6 Professional on your account you will see one labeled as SkinStudio Pro and another SkinStudio 6 Pro. To add to that if you ever purchased Skin Studio Standard this will also have its own icon in Impulse.

I hope this has helped everyone!
Should you need any further help please contact us at


Support: Shirley, Milksama, Highlander, Seabass